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Thread: Irvin or Irving Caterpillar Club

  1. #1
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    Irvin or Irving Caterpillar Club

    This came up earlier but can't find link now

    But the link to RAF Historical Society Journals jsu posted provides an answer
    Journal 37 page 32

    The UK Company called Irving not Irvin the 'g' was a typographical error made when company articles created
    Weather - Fair with cloudy patches, clear by early evening.

  2. #2
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    Hello Paul,and thank you for that.It was my original post which i took down a couple of days ago regarding the badge i had been given which was inscribed Irving.I was trying to find out more information regarding the named pilot and his career,or the reason of his bail out.The name is S/P L THOROGOOD.
    I removed the thread as i only had Moggy reply.

    Many Thanks Alan.

  3. #3
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    I have posted this before, I wrote to the Ivin,s Catapillar club on behalf of a friends late father who recivied a Catapillar award. I was told that only family would be sent information. If they requested it.

    Dave

  4. #4
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    Alan, it is both bad manners and unwise to delete a post just because you don't get an instant answer. Frequently it will take days, or even months for an irregular visitor to reply.

    Paul, thanks for that info.

    Moggy
    Last edited by Moggy C; 17th March 2012 at 11:28.
    "What you must remember" Flip said "is that nine-tenths of Cattermole's charm lies beneath the surface." Many agreed.

  5. #5
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    Apologies to anyone i may have upset by removing my thread regarding the above.Bieng slightly over 70 odd years old i am unsure how the forum works (As it has taken me years to try and get around the computer),and didnt want to clog it up with something that wasnt of interest.

    Apologies for my bad manners and i will bow out gracefully.

    Alan.

  6. #6
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    Alan don't go we all make small mistakes on here eventually even the old hands and we don't hold it against you

    Hang about and hopefully someone will solve your query Paul
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  7. #7
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    Indeed. You are welcome to stay around.

    Your post was and is of interest. You might also find other things that interest you here.

    Moggy
    "What you must remember" Flip said "is that nine-tenths of Cattermole's charm lies beneath the surface." Many agreed.

  8. #8
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    I dont know if this is of interest to anyone... I have an envelope that was sent me my friends grandfather. I dont have permission to give his name, but he was a gunner on 300 (Polish) Squadron and was shot down over Dortmund (and survived). He received something through the post from Irving... And this is the envelope it arrived in... It's only small. You can see in the top left that the sender is 'IRVING AIR CHUTE LTD'


  9. #9
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    Yes thats the rear of the registered letter that they were sent in.
    pic of the front of one here.

    http://www.462squadron.com/pages/cre...terpillar.html

  10. #10
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    Wether its Irvin or Irving is immaterial these days as both Irvin GB (as it was in later days) and GQ Parachutes Ltd are part of a multinational company called Airborne Systems.

    I went to Irvin's Letchworth factory before the company moved to South Wales (where Airborne Systems still are) and was impressed with the wooden panelling that went around the factory with all the names of the Caterpillar club members on it. What I found interesting were the German names on the panels dating from WW2, presumably the Luftwaffe had bought a batch of Irving chutes prewar nad the company had honoured the club membership rules despite the application coming from an enemy.

  11. #11
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    Back to original query does it say S/P or S/L L THOROGOOD

    S/P may be Sgt Pilot (but never seen this wrriten like this before) S/L would be Sqn Ldr
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  12. #12
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    OK this might might be


    Battle of Britain Fighter Pilot Sgt (later Sqn Ldr) Laurence Thorogood DFC

    who bailed out of a 87 Sqn Hurricane on 1st November 1940 at Knaphill Surrey while with 87 Sqn


    http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/community...pilot_did_next


    http://www.theknaphillian.com/PDF%20...20Knaphill.pdf

    I cannot ID this aircraft can anyone else? the page of his log book detailing the incident is available to see on the net but to difficult to read?
    Last edited by paulmcmillan; 20th March 2012 at 09:09.
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  13. #13
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    Incredable, I lived in Robin Hood Road for some 30 years and never heard anything about the incident.

    Two doors up from me on a small industrial estate, GQ Parachutes had a small workshop.
    Last edited by Groundcrew; 20th March 2012 at 11:27.

  14. #14
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    IrvinG!

    Irvin parachutes started as an American firm and Leslie Irvin came to Letchworth to set up a British one. As has been noted the paperwork used the wrong spelling. What has not been mentioned is that the British registration procedure did not allow the spelling to be corrected and Irvin did not have the money to go through a new registration at the time!

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    87 sqn Hurricane that crashed 1-11-40 at Knapshill was P3118
    Paul
    Last edited by paulmcmillan; 20th March 2012 at 09:10.
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  16. #16
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    I contacted Sgt Laurence Arthur Thorogood's son last night and he sent me a clearer copy of his fathers Log Book which shows that he was indeed flying P3118 and it was coded 'E''
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  17. #17
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    Thank you all for your replies,unfortunatly i have recieved information from several reliable sources that the badge i have been given is infact a reproduction.

    I would like to thank everyone for thier help and comments.

    Alan

  18. #18
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    Caterpillar Club, in the hope firstly I am not breaking forum rulesand secondly someone may be able to help please.
    ,
    I am seeking to buy a replacement golden caterpillar badge, my Dad treasured this for so many years and has now been lost.
    If anyone can put me on the trail I would be so happy.could you please make contact.
    If not apologies
    Kind regards
    Michael Bailey

  19. #19
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    An advert from 'Jane's' 1945/6

    IRVIN Air Chutes.

    The IRVING Air Chute of Great Britain Ltd., Letchworth, Herts, England.

    Marh

    "...the story had been forensically examined and was deeply impressive. I knew that the whole story was a load of myth and baloney…"

  20. #20
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    Michael

    If you send me a private message with your email address I should be able to help you

    Paul

  21. #21
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    Can I suggest an excellent book on the subject of 'special' RAF clubs and their badges titled Caterpillars Goldfish and Guinea Pigs Colin Pateman, it has the answers to all the questions raised on this thread

  22. #22
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    If I ever write my book on this...


    The Irvin/Irving stuff will get a brief mention


    You have to put in context.

    After WW1 only the US Army Air Corps Engineering Divisionn (under Major Hoffman at Dayton Ohio) were interested in Parachute technology (the war was over why bother). They soon worked out that free-fall parachutes would be the only option.

    Up to then all parachutes were of the "static" variety. i.e on attached to aircraft or balloon. These had a couple of restrictions, in as much that

    a) parachute lines could get caught up in aircraft or would not 'break free' (I read one report of a German pilot who jumped from an aircraft over Italy during WW1 who 'swung into the propeller' when his line would not break free.

    b) the US Army Air Corps also decided the static variety was a no-no when Canadian RFC pilot Lt Robert Allen Caldwell fell six hundred feet to his death at Dayton, Ohio, on June 11, 1919 using a Guardian Angel parachute when his static line was severed by hitting the aircraft before it could pull out the parachute from the aircraft. He was demonstrating the parachute to US Army Air Corps at the time.

    c) Lt Robert Allen Caldwell's unfortunate death (in front of probably the worlds most expert authorities on parachutes) also answered the long held question that a falling man did 'not pass out' after jumping as witnesses could see his fruitless actions in trying to save himself. Free-Fall Manually operated ones were the only option.

    Irvin was employed at Dayton at the time (I am unsure of his role) but I believe as a "consultant" rather than enlisted. He was after all one of the leading experts at the time.

    The US Army Air Corps, how had the type of parachute they wanted, but not all the technical detail. Size, type of material number of canopy sections, type of lines etc etc. Over the next couple of years they perfected this design (after testing) and Irvin did make the first test.

    When this was finished the Army Air Corps issued the specification for "US Standard Parachutes" and an order - But of course no manufacturer existed.

    So Irvin rushed of the Buffalo New York to start his factory and business and find investors and patents etc. I expect checking his name on the Incorporation documents was the least of his problems.

    Floyd Smith also started his Business in Chicago. But I think he was very much playing catch-up. He was still in the US Army Air Corps at the time. So I assume had to "leave". That's why I think Irvin not enlisted, he just 'left' because he could.

    As he was first out of starting blocks that's why most Parachutes since then are of the "Irvin Type" - See advert

    Smith/Irvin would be involved in patents disputes but that is another story
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  23. #23
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    After WW1 only the US Army Air Corps Engineering Divisionn (under Major Hoffman at Dayton Ohio) were interested in Parachute technology (the war was over why bother).
    Not completely true, the RAE Farnborough continued the research they had started during the war (I've seen the reports) but they were static line operated parachutes stowed in the airframe. Irvin's innovation was to have the parachute man-mounted with a man operated release. The RAFs order for parachutes which resulted in Irvin coming to the UK and setting up his company at Letchworth did not stop the RAE from continuing their research with parachutes.

  24. #24
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    Aeronut

    You are right the British, French and Italians were also studying parachute designs but the US were way out in front


    Paul

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